To stop a man who is running at full speed, a well aimed wrench might do it. To stop a car going at full speed, a well placed boulder might suffice. To stop a 10 ton truck going at ‘full speed’, well, that is going to take some doing! Even if ‘full speed’ is only doing 80 km/hr, that’s not really the issue, is it? It’s all that momentum that’s going to be problematic…
Jesus said of the kind of church that he is building, ‘The gates of hell will not prevail against it’. The picture I get is a church that is resolute, immovable, unstoppable. Looking at our history, it is clear that Satan has thrown everything at it but the kitchen sink! In the kingdom, momentum is more important than speed.
A church with momentum makes a big impact with far less effort. Possibly this is what Christ had in mind when he said,
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”Philippians 2:1-4
Sounds a bit like a rugby scrum doesn’t it? Imagine the momentum of a body of believers thrusting forward with such a selfless singularity of purpose!
Momentum is defined scientifically as Mass x Velocity. The vision Christ has for the church is not a loose affiliation of super-gifted ‘speedy’ players who wow the crowd. In fact – ‘do nothing out of selfish ambition’. Not only is vain-glory not honouring to God, it is such a waste of mass! Much more effective is a tight-knit unity of believers who are willing to lock arms together and add their ‘mass’ to the slowly building momentum in the church that Satan cannot thwart. Now we’re rolling!
The principles behind a good rugby scrum will serve us well in the kingdom too:
1. Add your mass
Don’t wait until you have worked on your character to perfection; God will work on it on the job. Don’t wait until your kids are in school or out of school or in college or out of college (you get the point). Don’t wait until you have worked on your marriage. Don’t wait until you measure up to someone else’s gift. Don’t wait until the leaders make a space for you. Don’t wait until you have healed of your wounds from the past.
In short – don’t wait.
Be there. Get on the field. Participate. God has given you gifts for the building up of the church, not like presents for you to admire or enjoy or pack in the cupboard. We need them!
2. Push in the right direction
It doesn’t help if you are a power-player but you haven’t locked into the common purpose. In an age of vain-glory, where gifted individuals value their own dreams and rally others to their own cause, Christ requires that we bury our dreams, our gifts and our causes into his purpose in the church.
It is naïve to believe that as we all pursue our own individual visions we will somehow find each other on the way. It doesn’t work that way in any team sport I know of. Elders set the vision in the local church but the momentum comes when every individual willingly and joyfully throws their weight behind it. Many visions spells ‘di-vision’.
3. Pull together
Unity requires loving each other intentionally, guarding against offence and covering each other’s weakness.
Don’t do it just for you and according to your feelings. Feelings are good for warning us about where our heart is at but often our feelings are fickle and based on things like physical tiredness. Momentum requires a constituency from all of us that is not based on how we feel on any particular day.
We might go faster if we break ranks and sprint ahead but we are stronger together. We wait for and mend the weak ones and in turn receive ministry when we are weak. This is the church Christ died for and it is the one which will withstand the fiery trials that come against it. In this way we imitate Christ who could quite easily have destroyed all the works of the Devil in his own might but, instead, he turned back for us, to bring us into his mission.
*Luke Hulley, with Ryan’s permission, adapated this article from a message that Ryan Kingsley preached at Joshua Generation Church.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan is a devoted lover of Jesus, a happy husband, a father of four and a leader within Joshua Generation Church. He also travels and ministers into Four12 partnering churches in South Africa. You can follow him on Facebook.
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